Mark Roebuck, Mike Colley and Warren Richardson formed Burning Core in the Fall of 1989. Mark had recently come off the painful break-up of his power-pop group the Deal and had begun working with Dave Matthews on their dark acoustic project Tribe of Heaven, 'Imagine We Were.' With Burning Core, he teamed up with two very experienced Charlottesville musicians to set out in an even more strikingly different direction.
At the time, Mike Colley, songwriter, keyboardist, lead guitarist and vocalist in Burning Core, had 12 years experience with bands from both the East Coast and the San Francisco Bay area. Colley’s previous studio experience included music sequencing and production work for a variety of other artists and producers. His guitar work had appeared on everything from CNN and National Geographic Explorer to countless recordings, jingles and demos.
Warren Richardson, lead vocals for Burning Core, was also a drummer, bass player and guitarist. He plays African instruments such as bilafon, djimbe, katero and the saba drum and, before Burning Core, had studied with master drummers Abdlou Kounte and Darrell Rose, then-Nashville Percussionist of the Year. Richardson had appeared in opening acts for major groups such as Le Vert, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Loketo, Bonedaddy’s, Bhunda Boys, and John McCutcheon.
Burning Core took the varied experience and enthusiasm of these three musicians to a new level, blending rap, metal, funk, rock and jazz roots into a cutting edge sound and style. From the unstoppable dance grooves of Don’t Strangle the Child and Step Don’t Stand, to the compelling update of Times They Are a Changing, the band moved into uncharted waters with a sense of honesty and purpose. Roebuck has said: “ Mike and I really felt like we were pushing the envelope in the early days of Burning Core, like we were inventing something that hadn’t existed before that point.” The music varied from the atonal fury of such songs as Beast and W.B.F. to more melodic pieces such as World Gone Wild and Better Than This. One song, Do the Same, was co-written with Peter Griesar, a Charlottesville musician most notable as the early keyboardist in the Dave Matthews Band. Peter plays an unforgettable piano solo at the song's conclusion.
Although a part-time project, Burning Core secured a New York publisher and placed songs on several compilation CDs in Europe. In 1992 the band added Rob Walker on guitar, Garry Mills on drums, Houston Ross on bass, and Victor Brown on vocals. The band opened shows for both Dave Matthews Band and Public Enemy, and received an honorable mention in the urban/rap category of the 1990 Billboard International Songwriting Contest for Don’t Strangle the Child.
Burning Core broke up in 1996, or more accurately evolved after a period of dormancy into the group Sub Seven, a rap/rock quartet made up of Roebuck, Colley, Mills with Pete Adamy on bass. They put out ‘Wild Hallucinations From the Deep Sleep Deprivation’ in 1998 (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/subseven) but disbanded soon after when Adamy took a teaching position in New England. Today Mike Colley records music from his home studio, collaborating with fellow musicians from as far away as San Francisco. Warren Richardson was for several years a member of the Broadway ensemble Stomp, living in New York City during this period. He is currently living in Dusseldorf, Germany. Mark Roebuck went on to play in Big Circle, a Charlottesville ensemble made up of fellow Charlottesville musicians Charlie Pastorfield, Rusty Speidel, Jim Ralston, Tim Anderson, and Tony Fischer. Their 2004 CD ‘Things May Change’ (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bigcircle) garnered excellent reviews and was given a 4-Star Rating by the All Music Guide. Mark Roebuck has released two projects since the end of Big Circle: 2005's ‘Some Half-Remembered Thing’ with Noonday Ruin (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mrnoondayruin) and the 2011 acoustic project ‘Midnight To Morning’ (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/roebuckfischer) done in collaboration with Tony Fischer.